Russian Flat Airstrip Dedication

Backcountry strip is first to open in decades.

(June 2011) The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) and the Montana Pilots Association (MPA) have joined efforts to build Russian Flat Airstrip, the first backcountry airstrip to open on United States Forest Service (USFS) land in more than 46 years. The 3,000-foot runway is located in a large, grassy meadow 69 miles southwest of Great Falls, Montana, in the Lewis and Clark National Forest and will be dedicated during an event, which is open to the public, at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6. RAF president John McKenna says the chief of the USFS, Tom Tidwell, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer are all scheduled to attend. McKenna also anticipates that U.S. Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri will be present. The dedication will be followed by a barbecue, Montana style, hosted by RAF and MPA.

As this issue of Flying goes to print, no FAA airport identifier has been issued for Russian Flat. The strip was built using 100 percent volunteer labor and funding. Much of the heavy labor and equipment was provided by Century Companies Inc. of Lewistown, Montana, which purchased equipment specifically designed to minimize ground disturbance during the construction of the airstrip. The field was planted with native grass that is drought- and wildlife-resistant. Continued maintenance of the strip will be provided by Central Montana Hangar — a chapter of the Montana Pilots Association in Lewistown.